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An Invitation to Stop Dressing Your Age

miu miu runway paris fashion week womenswear fallwinter 2024 2025
An Invitation to Stop Dressing Your AgeVictor Boyko - Getty Images

Miu Miu is where Miuccia Prada really plays with fashion and the idea of taste–good and bad and in-between. Typically, Miu Miu has been thought of as the younger sister to Prada; its designs often skew youthful (and lately, pantsless) or coquettish (as always, Mrs. Prada was doing it first) or quirky.

Yesterday in Paris however, Mrs. Prada cast a variety of ages for her fall 2024 collection show. There was the actress Kristin Scott Thomas (63) and the doctor-slash-influencer Qin Huilan (70) and the Spanish actress Ángela Molina (68). Ballet dancer Guillaume Diop walked the runway too, as did musicians Ethel Cain and Little Simz.

Some strutted in oversized jackets embellished with crystal clusters while others strode in cropped skirt suits, faux minks (they were made from shearling), and oversized evening gloves. There were references to uniforms in the white seamstress coat and the perfectly tailored, simple silhouettes of double-breasted outerwear.

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The fashion industry continues to have a pretty abysmal track record when it comes to showing clothes on a diversity of body types. But something seems to have shifted when it comes to age. In New York, Batsheva's show was cast entirely with women over 40. Rachel Comey has used models of varying ages for years. And on the Paris runways this season, Mrs. Prada at Miu Miu and Olivier Rousteing at Balmain cast their shows with women over 40.

Shouldn't women over 40 deserve to see themselves in the collections too? The notion that a woman should dress her age is as outdated as skinny jeans. Oh, wait … Miu Miu just brought those back.

miu miu runway paris fashion week womenswear fallwinter 2024 2025
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Anyway, the point is, great fashion should help us be whoever we want to be in any given moment. As Mrs. Prada said after the show, “Every single morning I decide whether I’m going to be 15 years old or a lady near her death.”

A similar sense of freedom came through at Chanel too, with Virginie Viard presenting a stellar collection inspired by an important moment in the history of the house. Viard took us on a journey to the French seaside town of Deauville where Gabrielle Chanel started her business with a small millinery shop in 1912. Walking into the behemoth, stadium-sized runway space that had a giant Imax-like screen built in the middle of the runway, it's wild to think that it all started with Coco Chanel sitting in a tiny store making hats for ladies walking along the boardwalk.

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A short film starring Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz kicked off the runway show; yet another reminder of how larger-than-life and jazz-hands sparkly Chanel can be now. But even amidst the decked-out-in-double-C glitterati clientele that watched from their seats (two next to me chatted loudly about what they were going to buy), Viard’s fall collection felt considered and devoid of product for product’s sake.

During the last few seasons, it seemed like Viard was targeting a younger customer, but for fall, there were clothes women at every age. You saw the range in the easy, long knit suits with Chanel border trim, belted cardigans, and ethereal chiffon dresses that had a vintage feel to the silhouettes and prints. Nothing was too logo-heavy and the exaggerated brim sun hats that nodded back to Coco Chanel's milliner era didn’t feel like cheesy nostaglia but rather, a tribute to the woman that built the brand.

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